It only takes one moment…

It’s crazy to think how just one harmless thought, feeling, or action has the incredible power to change the course of your life forever; perhaps even the lives of others.

I had been in contact with my real mom since I was a teen.  But neither of us knew how to reach my dad or siblings.  After many years of searching on the internet, I found out why he was so hard to track down.  He had passed away on Labor Day in 1994.  I would have been 12 years old.  I was able to get contact information from the lady who was his wife at the time of his passing.  Through her, I was finally able to connect with my two half sisters.

Tara lived across the state on a small ranch.  She was married with two kids.  I spoke with her on the phone once, and it was a very brief conversation.  I could tell she was withdrawn and not interested in getting to know each other, which was fine.  I’m not a real outgoing person anyways.

All I had to contact my other sister, Val, was an email address.  So I sent her an email, but I never got a reply.  I thought she just didn’t want to talk to me, which I found out later that wasn’t the case.

A couple years had passed when I received a facebook friend request from Val unexpectedly.  It turns out she had been incarcerated the whole time, and just got out of prison.  We talked quite a lot on facebook, just getting to know each other.  She was actually living about 40 miles away, and she wanted to meet.  Me being the socially awkward recluse I am, I was just fine with the facebook chats.

Well, the night before Halloween she finally talked me into it.  I needed to go to the town she was living in anyways, to get the last piece of my sons Halloween costume ( a Marty McFly red vest).  About 7pm that evening, we met up at a restaurant.  I have to admit, it was pretty neat actually meeting someone who knew my dad.  She told me that the day he died, he was riding his motorcycle and crashed head on into a vehicle that turned in front of him.  Apparently, that was around the time when stealing road signs was cool.  The stop sign at the intersection he died at was missing.

To make matters worse, insurance didn’t want to have to pay out any money to the family, so they went to court saying that he had committed suicide because Val was giving him a lot of trouble at the time.  As a little girl going thru a grieving process, she had to testify in court against their allegations.

She said that it was true that she and her father were having difficulties at the time.  He wanted to take her fishing and show her how to shoot a gun, but she would have no part in it because she was a girly girl.  She felt like he was trying to turn her into a boy.  But she also knew that he loved his family and life too much to commit suicide.  The insurance company lost the case, but they left some painful scars.

Val also told me that night that her (our) sister Tara had cancer and was expected to pass away very soon.  She just wanted to make it long enough to have one last Christmas with her kids.  I understood then why Val wanted to meet me so badly.  She was devastated at the thought of losing her only sister, and having me was a way to ease that pain a little.  Lose one sister, but gain another.

After a couple hours of talking about anything and everything, I decided it was late and I should get home.  We started our cars, and she sat with me in mine for a few minutes until it had warmed up a bit, and then we said our goodbyes.

I had no more than gotten on the interstate when she called me.  She had dropped her house key in my car.  I glanced at the passenger seat and, sure enough, there was a key.  I drove to the nearest exit ramp to turn around and take the key back to her.  She felt terrible about it, but I let her know it was not a big deal.  I understood all to well about losing and forgetting things.

It was about 9pm when I was finally headed home.  My brain was going a million miles an hour.  I had just met my sister, learned that my other sister was dying, and found out how my dad had died.  I was still trying to process all this new and difficult information when I saw a shadow take shape into large brown object in front of me.

“No fucking way…”

I only had a fraction of a second to squint my eyes and realize what the object was, but I didn’t have time to realize that I was going to hit it dead on.

There are only a handful of elk in the Black Hills.  To see one anywhere was uncommon.  To see one on the interstate was pretty rare.  To hit one on the interstate, within a half mile of city limits, was unheard of.

It was unfortunate that my first encounter with such a beautiful animal was such a tragic one.  Although at the time, my brain couldn’t process what it was seeing, now I see the image perfectly.  A mature bull elk, stepping out of the shadow, taking one graceful step, and then another, almost in slow motion.  He lifted his leg to take a third step, and slowly swung his massive head to look at me.

He never finished that third step.

The impact was incredible.  Fast and powerful.  Almost simultaneously I was hit hard in the face and chest, which slammed me back against my seat.  Then the world stood still for a second as I finished processing what had happened, and what I had to do next.  I felt what I thought were tears running down my face, making my eyes sting and burn.  I tried to see where I was going so that I could pull off the road safely, but I couldn’t open my eyes.  I was able to see taillights through my eyelashes, and so I focused on them, and followed them until they stopped.   I shut my car off, hoping that all the coolant hadn’t leaked out of the likely destroyed radiator, causing the motor to overheat.

I started to hear people talking and doors opening.  Without thinking, I opened my door to lean out and spit the blood out of my mouth.  That’s when I heard a voice ask me if I was ok.  I replied to his white and blue tennis shoes, since that was all I could see of him.

“I think so.  Is the elk dead?  I’d hate for it to suffer.”

He paused before he replied, and I could hear his clothes crinkle so I knew he was looking back at it to find out.  Funny how quickly your other senses adapt when you lose one of them.

“Yes, he’s dead.  You are really lucky to be alive.”

I wasn’t sure how to reply to that.  I’ve never really been the type to worry about myself, and I guess this wasn’t any different.  After having the peace of mind that the elk was not suffering, my worry then turned to my car.

“Is my car destroyed?”, I asked.

He half laughed at me, like he couldn’t believe I would be asking such a question given the circumstance.  “Yeah”, he replied slowly. “It is completely totaled.  You won’t ever drive it again.”

This was very upsetting.  I loved my car.  In the adrenaline daze,  I started feeling around the car for damage.  My hands found the steering wheel, and then the dash.   At the time I couldn’t feel all the shards of glass embedding into my hand as I felt along the dash.  My arm bumped into something, and as ran my hand over it I quickly learned what it was.  My hand was resting on the outside portion of the windshield.  It had broken and folded inside the car.

At this point details become hazy and pain and confusion set in.  Paramedics had arrived and I tried to focus on being a good patient, so that they could do what they needed with me.

At approximately 9pm, October 30th, 2016 my life started.

 

 

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Why I hate Christmas.

I don’t hate holidays.  Just Christmas.  I actually happen to LOVE Halloween, I think it’s fabulous having one day where we can all be someone (or something) else.  Take on a whole new persona, or just take advantage of the opportunity to wear your pajamas all day.  Not to mention candy and tasty treats everywhere, now who can complain about that?

But Christmas…. Ugh.

Don’t get me wrong.  I absolutely love giving.  I live for helping others.  I just don’t want to be obligated to give gifts on a specific day.  That makes it like a chore; a job with a deadline, and completely destroying any meaning behind it.  There is the stress of knowing Christmas is just around the corner and needing to get my shopping done, fighting crowds at the store as well as what seems like inflated prices after the Black Friday insanity (which I stay FAR away from).  I want my gifts to have meaning, and not necessarily monetary value, but sentimental value.

I give things to the people I care about throughout the year, without having to stress about it.  For example, over the summer I was at Sears picking up an air compressor I’d purchased for myself.  While waiting on the employee to grab it from their holding area, I browsed through the tools.  I noticed a set of sockets that were adaptable to size and could extract bolts with rounded heads as well.  I thought my dad could use a good new set of sockets, so I bought them and gave them to him when I saw him a couple weeks later.

Now I didn’t get him anything for Christmas, but I think he enjoyed his socket set that he used all summer more than he would have enjoyed a gift boxed set of Christmas mugs.

 

 

Some of the best lessons are learned in the oddest places.

Yesterday I was doing some cleaning and I found a rouge piece of Halloween candy in a boot.  It was a blue salt water taffy, and my mouth watered just looking at it.

So I picked it up only to find that it was cold and hard, due to having resided near the drafty front door for the last two months.  I would not be discouraged, however, because as a woman I happen to possess two portable heaters.  So I stuffed it in my bra and continued my cleaning.

Fast forward to this morning.  It had been a long night and when I finally crashed, I crashed hard, only to be woken early by a holiday gift from Aunt  Flo; Christmas cramps.

I stumble my way to the coffee pot to get my liquid life support brewing, and head to the bathroom to sit on the “thinking chair” and wait for my advil to kick in.

As I sit with my head rested on the sink,  waiting for the pain and agony to subside, I catch a glimpse of blue and remember that mouth watering taffy.  For a moment the pain disappears, as my thoughts are filled with sweet deliciousness.

My spirit is lifted as I grasp the now perfectly warm and gooey piece of blue perfection.  Nearly giddy with excitement as I start to unwrap it…….

The unthinkable happens.  I drop it.  In movie quality slow motion, my hands fumble awkwardly trying to catch it as it swirls downward like water being drained from a bathtub. My efforts in vain, I let out a defeated howl as my savory blue morsel disappears between my legs and hits the water with a splash.

My heart sinks along with my piece of blue salt water taffy.  I rest my head on the sink once more and take a moment of silence as the pain again takes over.

It’s going to be a long day.

However, in our brief time together, I learned two things.

1. Saving something for later isn’t always the best open, because you could end up with less than you started with.

2.  Enjoy the little things, but enjoy them now, because they might not be around tomorrow.

Happy holidays, everyone.

If you aren’t the victim, then you are the perpetrator.

I hate the holidays.  They always catch me off guard and scare me, much like my boyfriend does when he hides behind the door waiting for me to walk into the room.

I didn’t realize it was two days before Christmas until my mom left me a message on my phone to call her and let her know when I’d be there for Christmas Eve dinner.  This year I’m feeling less festive and cheery than usual, due in part to issues that have arisen between my teenage son and I.  He has been lying, stealing, being destructive, not obeying, and having a general “I don’t care about anyone or anything” attitude.

On an unrelated note, I don’t think tracking collars should only be legal for animals.  More on that another time.

Anyways, I called my mother back to tell her I really hadn’t decided if I was going anywhere for Christmas because it was most likely illegal for mentally unstable people to drive.  She asked if I had gotten my Christmas shopping done.  I told her that I had, but I only bought my son one small gift this year.

Hearing her utter shock through the phone, I let her know that last week I caught my son stealing money from me, and that had basically killed any Christmas spirit left in me for this season.

But if there had been any shred of Christmas spirit left in me after that, my mom destroyed it with her reply:

“Well, you should have put your money where he wouldn’t find it.  Start counting your money, and put a note with it that says you know exactly how much is there and that he had better not take any.”

With that  statement it was clear that I was the guilty one, the victimizer, the perp, the instigator.  He was merely a victim of my careless and reckless behavior.  Shame on me.  I mean, how could I possibly blame him for taking my money, when I clearly hadn’t put it in a safe enough place.

First off, contrary to what my mom apparently thinks, I don’t leave my cash taped to the front door.  What little cash I keep is always in my zipped deposit bag, which is always in my shoulder bag.  Had it been a stranger who dug into my bag and took my cash, it would have been called a robbery.  Yet since it was my own son, it’s somehow different?

Secondly, the fact that I am supposed to leave a note with my money indicates that she expects for him to continue going through my bag on a regular basis, and I need to be ok with that.  This is absolutely mind blowing to me.  Osteoporosis must be setting in, because it appears my mom has lost her spine.  If I had stolen money from her when I was 13, my butt would have spatula imprints on it for a week.  However, that didn’t happen because I had already received spatula imprints earlier on for stealing a toy from a coin machine, and I NEVER stole anything ever again.

This makes me understand in part, where society has gone wrong.  We’ve allowed our children to grow up perceiving themselves as the victim, and the parent as the perpetrator, no matter the circumstance.  This has led to a level of entitlement in the youth that has gotten to the point of being dangerous.  It has caused parents to be arrested for attempting to punish their children.  It has led  young people to protest an election they never even voted in, by burning up a car for having a sticker on it.

Let me repeat that so it sinks in.  Lighting a car on fire and burning it to the ground because it had a sticker on it.  So they are using their freedom of expression to burn a car, but wasn’t the owner of the car just using his freedom of expression by having the sticker on his car?  Yet, the car owner is the perpetrator for having the sticker on his car.

I don’t know how to fix this backwards society, but I do think it will get worse before it gets better.  As for my son, I guess I’ll just have to figure out a way to level the playing field.